Written and Media by Taylor Harpster.
Being a student, and an excellent one at that, can be very difficult at times, yet even more rewarding. Accomplishing what you once thought to be impossible and unmanageable is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Success as a student depends just as much on internal practices as it does on external sources of information.
1. Organization is key.
Establishing and maintaining organization is the number one way to set yourself up for success. Being organized gives you the ability to maintain structure as well as balance many responsibilities. One big part of staying organized is using a planner or schedule to make sure that you are keeping up with assignments. Planners can be super helpful when you are trying to manage your time well in order to balance different aspects of your life. Bullet journals are unique because they allow you to create and design your own planner/schedule to meet your needs. On top of having a daily planner, using either a physical calendar with the option to give an hour by hour synopsis of the day or an online calendar like Google calendar enable you to stay even more organized.
2. Take care of your body.
Regardless of what age you are or if you are even a student, self-care is important. Taking care of your body is easily one of the best things you can do for yourself. Victoria Han Hong, an academic tutor says regarding sleep, “And try to get plenty of sleep, because if you’re tired and sleepy, you lose class material and it slows you down not only with understanding the material but also the pace and speed to finish your assignments.” Getting more sleep can help you to stay more cognitively aware and sharpen your focus. Taking care of your body also includes what fuels, or lack thereof, that you are putting in your body. Choosing to eat a meal rather than to skip to work on homework or because of your schedule will help you out more in the long run than going hungry.
3. Fewer distractions = More work gets done.
Distractions can be the academic death of a college student. If you do not give yourself a space to be free of distractions, you might end up with a lot of work time gone to waste. Find a secluded corner of the library or even set up space on your desk with distractions such as your phone squared away to not bother you. No matter where you decide to work on homework or study, make it a place with minimal distractions. Part of that is the need to eliminate avenues for distraction. For me, that came in the form of deleting mobile games off of my phone and moving social media apps from their usual location on my phone to keep me focused on the tasks that needed to be done.
As Bruce Lee once said, “Long-term consistency beats short-term intensity.” The more you are consistent with good practices, the more it shows in your work and in other areas of your life. Being consistent can be as simple as making time every morning to shower and not have to rush to get ready for classes. Being consistent can also mean setting aside time to chip away at a project that’s due in a week or two. They say it can take as little as 18 days to form a new habit.
5. There’s a time to work and a time to play!
If college was all work and no play, I think it is fair to say that many people would have dropped out by now. Making time for yourself to give your brain a rest and enjoy something fun is just as important as doing your homework. On the other hand, make sure to balance and not let everything just be a time for fun. Finding the balance between work and play can be the difference between surviving and thriving!